The Defenders are all very different people as established over four different shows. So how do you take these very strong characters and put them together into one show without losing anything? That’s the job of executive producer and writer Marco Ramirez. Ramirez is the man who helped to start the Netflix Marvelverse with Daredevil. Now he’s been tasked to create the highly anticipated superhero team up show. At San Diego Comic Con Ramirez sat down with us to talk the surprises and challenges of creating The Defenders.
From the beginning, one of the key elements to figure out was how to bring together these four stylistically very different shows. Ramirez says he had to look at it like creating a “collage”.
“It really felt like we needed to make another show, its own standalone thing with elements borrowed from each of the other worlds. So that in itself created its own tone. It almost felt like we got to do a greatest hits cherry picking. The musical element of Luke Cage feels really good so let’s do some of that on this show. The fights on Daredevil and Iron Fist have a certain flavor, what if we bring some of that here? There’s a film noir sensibility to everything Jessica Jones does, a certain badass attitude to the way that show is shot, let’s bring some of that in here.”
The Netflix version of New York City has such flavor that combining the show’s different tones in this way makes sense. It’s also representative of what the melting pot the city is in reality. It is the little details- like the music and the camera work- that really help these Netflix shows stand out from the rest- and each other.
The Gang’s All Here
Once the world is created, how do you get all the characters to the same place? Ramirez says the most important thing is that the characters coming together felt organic. “It wasn’t like ‘let’s jump right into the plot…’ It felt like we needed to make this make sense so each of these actors who has spent (time) on screen having an emotional journey, this really felt like the next act in (their) story.” These emotional arcs became an important part of The Defenders.
“What was really surprising to me and to the writers was…how much work we had to do in terms of planning the specifics of where everyone is emotionally. It wasn’t just like everyone gets in a room and now they’re all the Defenders and here they go and this is the headquarters- it wasn’t that kind of show. It really felt like we had to track emotionally where Luke Cage had been, where Jessica Jones had been, where everyone was coming from.”
The Netflix Marvel shows stand out because they aren’t just about superheroes. They are about real, damaged individuals who just happen to have super abilities. And as exciting as the team up aspect of The Defenders is, it’s nice to also hear that the characters’ journeys will be a respected. Especially since, “The events of Defenders will affect each of their own shows,” according to Ramirez.
The hallmark of the Netflix shows has become the fight scenes, whether it’s Daredevil (Charlie Cox) fighting his way through a hallway or Luke Cage (Mike Colter) acting like a battering ram through an entire building. So when it was time to top that Ramirez says the pressure was definitely on.
“We’ve never seen in this world… where four super powered people are in a fight scene together. So it felt like it would demanded a certain amount of spectacle. But also what I never wanted to lose was that they’d all have a certain amount of attitude. And a certain amount of musicality, even in the way each of the characters fight.”
This Avengers style team up moment is one fans are eagerly looking forward to in the series. As well as seeing what looming threat that is strong enough to bring them all together. “I think it’s something that each of these shows has hinted: that something bigger is coming,” says Ramirez. “It’s ultimately…something wicked this way comes and it’s Sigourney Weaver.” We can’t wait.
The Defenders comes to Netflix August 18th at midnight PST.